City of Toronto moves to expropriate Scarborough's East Side Motel

News Oct 13, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

The City of Toronto has moved to expropriate Scarborough’s East Side Motel but the lengthy legal process will allow the battered Kingston Road building to stay open through another winter, Gary Crawford said.

“I was a little surprised myself when I heard that it would take that long,” the Scarborough Southwest councillor said Oct. 6, when the city published an expropriation notice in a Toronto newspaper.

The city has been trying to buy and demolish the East Side for two years, and councillors in April approved expropriation if an agreement with the owner, Kahlon Family Holdings Ltd., couldn’t be reached.

A willing sale of the motel, where poor conditions for long-term tenants were detailed in a Metroland Media Toronto story last week, would have saved lots of time, Crawford said.

For now, the city will be doing what it can for the tenants, and has started speaking to them about moving to new housing, the councillor added.

“There’s a good sense that they will be there for the winter at this point.”

Crawford revealed the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) Division had declared part of the motel uninhabitable, and the owners had been issued a court date because of damage to that section’s roof.

This was not confirmed by an MLS spokesperson before press time, despite several requests.

When told a reporter had seen holes in the ceilings, walls and floors of rented and vacant suites outside the unused “uninhabitable” area, Crawford said city staff are unable to go into individual suites unless invited.

“A lot of these people are afraid and don’t call us,” acknowledged Crawford, adding if inspectors found a suite to be uninhabitable, tenants there would have to leave immediately.

“It puts the people in there in a difficult position.”

He added he welcomed Metroland’s story, saying it brings attention to a “grey area” of housing existing across the city.

Kenneth Hale, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario’s legal services director, says the province’s Residential Tenancies Act “makes it pretty clear” East Side motel residents have the same rights as apartment tenants even if they’re paying rent by the week.

The Act provides an exemption for hotels and motels, but it’s for temporary or seasonal use of rooms by the travelling public; when the East Side’s management started collecting rent, they knew their current tenants were not vacationing, Hale said.

“They knew who they were; that this was going to be their home.”

Hale noted the city gets federal and provincial money for programs that can pay for first and last month’s rent and moving expenses in situations where low-income tenants are displaced.

The motel owners could not be reached for comment Wednesday prior to our publishing deadline.

Alexander Smirnis, founder of City Street Outreach, said the charity’s volunteers started visiting the East Side with food and other supplies a few years ago because the group heard there were “severely hungry” people living there.

“We saw the need and we just couldn’t leave,” Smirnis said Tuesday.

The volunteer group – which always needs more volunteers, blankets and sleeping bags – visits another Kingston Road motel, the Hav-A-Nap, but less regularly.


City of Toronto moves to expropriate Scarborough's East Side Motel

Process lets Kingston Road building stay open this winter

News Oct 13, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

The City of Toronto has moved to expropriate Scarborough’s East Side Motel but the lengthy legal process will allow the battered Kingston Road building to stay open through another winter, Gary Crawford said.

“I was a little surprised myself when I heard that it would take that long,” the Scarborough Southwest councillor said Oct. 6, when the city published an expropriation notice in a Toronto newspaper.

The city has been trying to buy and demolish the East Side for two years, and councillors in April approved expropriation if an agreement with the owner, Kahlon Family Holdings Ltd., couldn’t be reached.

A willing sale of the motel, where poor conditions for long-term tenants were detailed in a Metroland Media Toronto story last week, would have saved lots of time, Crawford said.

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For now, the city will be doing what it can for the tenants, and has started speaking to them about moving to new housing, the councillor added.

“There’s a good sense that they will be there for the winter at this point.”

Crawford revealed the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) Division had declared part of the motel uninhabitable, and the owners had been issued a court date because of damage to that section’s roof.

This was not confirmed by an MLS spokesperson before press time, despite several requests.

When told a reporter had seen holes in the ceilings, walls and floors of rented and vacant suites outside the unused “uninhabitable” area, Crawford said city staff are unable to go into individual suites unless invited.

“A lot of these people are afraid and don’t call us,” acknowledged Crawford, adding if inspectors found a suite to be uninhabitable, tenants there would have to leave immediately.

“It puts the people in there in a difficult position.”

He added he welcomed Metroland’s story, saying it brings attention to a “grey area” of housing existing across the city.

Kenneth Hale, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario’s legal services director, says the province’s Residential Tenancies Act “makes it pretty clear” East Side motel residents have the same rights as apartment tenants even if they’re paying rent by the week.

The Act provides an exemption for hotels and motels, but it’s for temporary or seasonal use of rooms by the travelling public; when the East Side’s management started collecting rent, they knew their current tenants were not vacationing, Hale said.

“They knew who they were; that this was going to be their home.”

Hale noted the city gets federal and provincial money for programs that can pay for first and last month’s rent and moving expenses in situations where low-income tenants are displaced.

The motel owners could not be reached for comment Wednesday prior to our publishing deadline.

Alexander Smirnis, founder of City Street Outreach, said the charity’s volunteers started visiting the East Side with food and other supplies a few years ago because the group heard there were “severely hungry” people living there.

“We saw the need and we just couldn’t leave,” Smirnis said Tuesday.

The volunteer group – which always needs more volunteers, blankets and sleeping bags – visits another Kingston Road motel, the Hav-A-Nap, but less regularly.


City of Toronto moves to expropriate Scarborough's East Side Motel

Process lets Kingston Road building stay open this winter

News Oct 13, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

The City of Toronto has moved to expropriate Scarborough’s East Side Motel but the lengthy legal process will allow the battered Kingston Road building to stay open through another winter, Gary Crawford said.

“I was a little surprised myself when I heard that it would take that long,” the Scarborough Southwest councillor said Oct. 6, when the city published an expropriation notice in a Toronto newspaper.

The city has been trying to buy and demolish the East Side for two years, and councillors in April approved expropriation if an agreement with the owner, Kahlon Family Holdings Ltd., couldn’t be reached.

A willing sale of the motel, where poor conditions for long-term tenants were detailed in a Metroland Media Toronto story last week, would have saved lots of time, Crawford said.

Related Content

For now, the city will be doing what it can for the tenants, and has started speaking to them about moving to new housing, the councillor added.

“There’s a good sense that they will be there for the winter at this point.”

Crawford revealed the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) Division had declared part of the motel uninhabitable, and the owners had been issued a court date because of damage to that section’s roof.

This was not confirmed by an MLS spokesperson before press time, despite several requests.

When told a reporter had seen holes in the ceilings, walls and floors of rented and vacant suites outside the unused “uninhabitable” area, Crawford said city staff are unable to go into individual suites unless invited.

“A lot of these people are afraid and don’t call us,” acknowledged Crawford, adding if inspectors found a suite to be uninhabitable, tenants there would have to leave immediately.

“It puts the people in there in a difficult position.”

He added he welcomed Metroland’s story, saying it brings attention to a “grey area” of housing existing across the city.

Kenneth Hale, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario’s legal services director, says the province’s Residential Tenancies Act “makes it pretty clear” East Side motel residents have the same rights as apartment tenants even if they’re paying rent by the week.

The Act provides an exemption for hotels and motels, but it’s for temporary or seasonal use of rooms by the travelling public; when the East Side’s management started collecting rent, they knew their current tenants were not vacationing, Hale said.

“They knew who they were; that this was going to be their home.”

Hale noted the city gets federal and provincial money for programs that can pay for first and last month’s rent and moving expenses in situations where low-income tenants are displaced.

The motel owners could not be reached for comment Wednesday prior to our publishing deadline.

Alexander Smirnis, founder of City Street Outreach, said the charity’s volunteers started visiting the East Side with food and other supplies a few years ago because the group heard there were “severely hungry” people living there.

“We saw the need and we just couldn’t leave,” Smirnis said Tuesday.

The volunteer group – which always needs more volunteers, blankets and sleeping bags – visits another Kingston Road motel, the Hav-A-Nap, but less regularly.